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Goicoechea Had a Cow…E-I-E-I-Ouch!

Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea was spittin’ nails. I mean he was livid. According to a report by Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun, “Tax My Meat” Pete was furious with some of his fellow legislators in Carson City this week.

No, silly, not with the Democrats. Assembly GOP leaders don’t get mad at Democrats. They “cooperate” with Democrats in a “bipartisan” fashion. Never is heard a discouraging word. Can’t we all just get along? Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya….

No, Goicoechea was fuming at his fellow Republicans in the state Senate.

First, it’s important to understand the importance of certain issues facing the Legislature this year. Sure, the budget issues are at the top of the list. But whatever the Legislature and the governor do on the budget will only last for the next two years….and then they get to do it all over again.

But redistricting only occurs once every TEN years. And if Republicans in the Assembly don’t get some relief this year from the screw job the Democrats did to them ten years ago, they’re gonna remain the minority party for yet another ten years. Or longer.

So redistricting is THE most important political issue facing Assembly Republicans this session….especially since they’re pretty much irrelevant to whatever’s gonna to happen with the budget anyway.

Which brings us to why Goicoechea had a cow this week.

Both Democrats and Republicans released their proposed legislative redistricting maps on Thursday, for both the state Senate and the state Assembly. And according to Damon’s report, “Democrats in both houses worked together to draw up new maps. Republicans, however, did not.”

Uh-oh. I think I see where this is going….

Seems that Goicoechea’s Assembly Republicans tried to draw up their own maps instead of coordinating their effort with Senate Republicans. The end result: They were told “that their proposed districts didn’t comply with the Voting Rights Act” and “legislative lawyers advised Goicoechea not to release” them.

Oh, for crying out loud.

I’m guessing Assembly Republicans hired those same elementary school kids to draw their maps that Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart used to choose Nevada’s official state bug last legislative session. After all, crayons are a lot cheaper than computer mapping software.

In any event, because of either their incompetence or intransigence, Assembly Republicans had no maps of their own to offer and had to rely on the maps drawn by Senate Republicans who, get this, actually hired an experienced consultant to draw their maps. But the lines Senate Republicans drew for Assembly Republicans aren’t to Goicoechea’s liking. And according to Damon, Goicoechea characterized the Senate GOP proposal thusly: “We got pretty well bent.”

As in, “bent over.” Ouch.

“Technically, they (Senate Republicans) were an outside group,” Goicoechea complained to Damon, “and we didn’t have near the input we should have. That’s our fault. We should have been more involved.”

Gee, ya think?

Let me put this in a little more perspective. Assembly Republicans have been in the minority since Reagan was president….except for one session in 1995 when they enjoyed a 21-21 tie. But during the last ten years, if you add up all the statewide votes cast for Republican assembly candidates and all the statewide votes cast for Democrat assembly candidates, more Nevadans consistently voted for Republicans than Democrats.

Yet thanks to the miracle of gerrymandering, Democrats have been able to win far more assembly seats than Republicans in election after election. Indeed, Democrats enjoy a huge 26-16 advantage this legislative session. Which is to say, how the new lines are drawn is EXTREMELY important to Republicans in the Assembly.

If only Goicoechea and his leadership team understood that and did something about it. Instead, and as usual, they screwed up.

As you know, I’m not the kind of person who hates to say “I told you so.” Indeed, I rather enjoy it. And I told Republicans last November when they rushed to coronate Goicoechea as their leader just two short days after the election – an election in which nine new Republicans, a majority of the minority, were elected – that it was a mistake.

Boy, has that ever turned out to be true.

Thanks to “Leader” Goicoechea’s negotiating skills and management abilities, Assembly Republicans find themselves in the unenviable position of not being 100% publicly behind their fellow Republican governor on the all-important tax issue, in return for the Democrats killing almost every single conservative legislative proposal they’ve introduced, while being left at the station in the all-important redistricting battle.

Man, that’s some “strategery,” I tell ya.

I wonder if the leader’s underling’s knew in advance that their leader was leading them to another ten years in Nevada’s political wilderness? I wonder if some of them right about now are thinking that changing horses in midstream might not be such a bad idea after all.